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Bredesen Unveils Specifics of Alternate Fuels Initiative

Thursday, October 19, 2006 | 07:00pm

Nashville – Governor Phil Bredesen today announced specifics of Tennessee’s alternative fuels initiative to increase production and use of cleaner renewable energy resources.

Bredesen has accepted a series of recommendations made by the Alternative Fuels Working Group, which he created by executive order in February 2006, to develop a comprehensive alternative fuels strategy for Tennessee. The working group includes representatives from six state agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture, Economic and Community Development, Environment and Conservation, General Services, Health and Transportation.

Bredesen proposed $4 million in this year’s budget that was approved by the General Assembly to fund the state’s alternative fuels initiatives. The proposal unveiled today includes specific steps to increase biofuel availability at retail stations, produce more ethanol and biodiesel, assist local governments in making biofuels available to their fleets, and communicate the importance of biofuels to the public.

“Doing everything we can to promote greater use of biofuels is not only a smart energy strategy, it’s important to improving air quality to improve the health and welfare of Tennesseans,” Bredesen said. “These are just the first of many steps we want to take to increase Tennessee’s use of renewable alternative fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol.”

The State of Tennessee is also working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Tennessee to support their efforts to create a more cost-effective biofuels production process. ORNL and UT are currently in the process of pursuing biofuels research and development funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and other sources.

“Working together, I believe we have the opportunity to attract more bioenergy industry interests to Tennessee and become a leading contributor in the national effort to increase use of alternative fuels,” said Bredesen.

The steps Bredesen outlined today to increase biofuel production and use in Tennessee include:

Invest in Agricultural Feedstock Processing
Tennessee will help establish two or more demonstration projects through the Department of Economic and Community Development’s FastTrack infrastructure program to provide low-interest loans.

  • Developing or attracting soybean-crushing facilities in Tennessee.
  • Establish feedstock processing facilities to attract local fuel production plants.

Create a Retail Refueling Infrastructure
Working with existing state and federal program funds, $1.5 million will be made available for grants through the Department of Transportation to establish a network of publicly accessible biofuel retail outlets along major interstate and highway corridors.

  • Creating 70 new alternative fuel retail outlets for Ethanol (E-85) and biodiesel (B-20).
  • Grants to require a 20% private match.

Provide Fuel Quality Assurance
Funding for the Department of Agriculture to help assure the quality of biofuels meets state and national standards.

Emphasize Education and Outreach
The Departments of Environment and Conservation and Economic and Community Development will develop a comprehensive campaign to educate state and local governments, private sector fleet owners, owners of flex fuel vehicles and consumers. Other educational activities include:

  • The first Governor’s Conference on Alternative Fuels will be held in Spring 2007, offering tracts in the areas of research, agriculture, finance and funding, operations management, retail marketing and education.
  • Expanding the existing Tennessee Clean Cities education and outreach efforts.

Encourage Local Government Fleets
Leverage federal resources like EPA’s Clean School Bus USA grants that support start-up costs associated with biodiesel conversion to lower the cost for local governments.

  • Give priority to counties not currently meeting federal air quality standards for fleets to include school buses, transit agencies and waste hauling trucks.
  • Make funding also available to smaller communities and rural areas.

For more information contact:

Lydia Lenker, Governor’s Office
Office (615) 741-3763
Cell (615) 289-9375

Dana Coleman, TDEC
Office (615) 253-1916

Tisha Calabrese-Benton, TDEC
Office (865) 594-5442

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